Introduction to LANMIPP – Loosely Affiliated Network of Monastically Inclined Polytheist Pagans

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Q: What is LANMIPP?

LANMIPP stands for Loosely Affiliated Network of Monastically Inclined Polytheist Pagans. We are a group of polytheists, Pagans, and Heathens who gather – online and offline – in order to build monastic ways of life suitable for our religious paths. We gather to experiment, to learn, to share our ideas and practices with one another, to appreciate our diversity, to foster a spirit of camaraderie, support, and fellowship, and to help build a strong foundation for organizing future polytheist Pagan monastic endeavors.

Loosely Affiliated Network: We acknowledge that there is currently no organized monastic tradition within modern Paganism and polytheism, so our network of affiliations is loose – i.e., not (yet!) formal or structured.

Monastically Inclined: As mentioned above, we acknowledge that we have no formal, recognized basis for calling ourselves monastics. Nonetheless, we choose to affiliate with one another because we feel an inclination, interest, or calling toward monasticism in many forms – structured life in community, contemplative practice, and monastic hermitage, for example. Some of us feel called to monastic life, and identify ourselves as amateur nuns or monks in training. Others are simply here to learn and explore ideas.

Polytheist Pagan: Most of us identify ourselves as polytheists, Pagans, or Heathens. We believe the deities are many and They are real. We don’t do theology checks; if you say you are a polytheist, that’s good enough for us. (Thank you to the Many Gods West conference for this helpful description.)

Q: How did LANMIPP get started, and who is involved?

LANMIPP as an entity emerged in September 2016 during a playful, tongue-in-cheek conversation on Facebook among Silence Maestas, Syren Nagakyrie, and Danica Swanson. The brief mention of the founding of LANMIPP on Danica’s Black Stone Hermitage blog was quickly followed by expressions of interest from several members of the Pagan and Polytheist Monasticism Facebook group, including founder Merri-Todd Webster and admin Jolene Dawe. None of us knew at the time that LANMIPP would so quickly take on a life of its own.  Apparently the need for it was there, and the timing was right for it to be born!

Q: What does LANMIPP do?

We have three goals:

1) to further discussions about Pagan and polytheist monasticism,

2) to connect people (both online and offline) who may want to develop some kind of monastic study or practice collaboratively or in consultation with one another, and

3) to encourage and facilitate the formation of monastic support networks (both online and offline) to help LANMIPP affiliates better meet their practical daily needs, especially in difficult times.

“Tea With LANMIPP” roundtable discussions have been planned for in-person polytheist gatherings and conferences such as Many Gods West. Some affiliated groups meet regularly for scheduled online conference chats (Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.) We also spend a lot of time chatting on the original Pagan and Polytheist Monasticism discussion group on Facebook (launched in September 2016 and started by Merri-Todd Webster), so that’s where you should go if you’re on Facebook and you’d like to get to know us! It’s a secret group, so non-members can’t even see that it exists, but we’re open to new members; if you’d like to join, email shrine.of.skadi at gmail dot com to introduce yourself and provide the email address you use for Facebook so one of the admins can add you.

We are also planning an annual membership open sign-up period during which we switch the group to “closed” (visible, but admins still need to approve members) and publicize the group for one month.

Also, for the sake of clarity, please note that there’s another discussion group on Facebook (launched in September 2018) called the Pagan and Polytheist Monastic Group. That one is not affiliated with LANMIPP in any way, despite the similarity in the group’s title. I mention it only because it has caused some confusion for people who were looking for the original group Merri-Todd started in September 2016, for which I am an admin.

Collaborations, groups, and orders affiliated with LANMIPP:

  1. Group for devotees of Antinous – contact Merri-Todd Webster
  2. Nigheanan Brìghde, a Celtic Polytheist Order of Brighidine Flametenders – contact Erin Lund Johnson
  3. Treasury of Apollon – contact Laurel Olympias Columbine
  4. My Polytheism – contact Jolene Dawe
  5. The Order of the Sacred Nemeton – contact Julie Bond

We would be happy to see more collaborations and groups of devotees interested in building monastic practices or starting religious orders in consultation with one another, so if you’d like to start one, you are welcome to do so, and tell us about it!

Our third goal, encouraging and facilitating monastic support networks, will be approached the same decentralized way: if you’d like to start one and link it to LANMIPP (or if you already have a practicing monastic group) then go ahead and do it, and tell us about it so we can list it here for others to find! There are many ways to go about it, and we celebrate that diversity. You can organize and structure it in whatever ways best suit the people involved. Monasteries all over the world provide practical assistance for one another. Polytheists don’t yet have physical monasteries, but our hope is to start building networks to help fulfill one of the functions of monasteries: mutual aid.

Q: How does one get involved?

For now, the best place to start is to join the original Pagan and Polytheist discussion and support group on Facebook and introduce yourself. Let us know a bit about what you do and how you became interested in monasticism in a Pagan and polytheist context.

Once you have formed some sort of affiliation – a group of two or more devotees or collaborators interested in monasticism – feel free to announce it to the group and describe what you are doing. To help future would-be monastics connect with existing groups, we keep a list of LANMIPP affiliation groups and support networks, and we’d be happy to add your group.

If you are not on Facebook, take heart, for we do have plans to eventually start a web discussion forum with both public and private areas!

ETA: As of September 2018 there’s a new group specifically for LANMIPP: “LANMIPP – A Network of Monastic Polytheist Pagans,” started by Syren Nagakyrie. In addition to discussion and support, this group hosts regular ‘drop in’ devotional practices and meditation sessions.

Q: What’s next for LANMIPP?

That will be determined by those who show up and participate.  That’s the beauty of loose affiliations: relationships can form organically, over time, and if the need arises for more structure, those involved can take action to put that structure in place.

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